While most people thought that Toy Story 3 has already closed the pages on the franchise and no new yarns can be told unless it’s a prequel, Pixar continued releasing Toy Story TV specials that follow Woody and the rest of the gang as they grow accustomed to their new owner, Bonnie. The most recent one is Toy Story of Terror, which was released on ABC last October 16, 2013 and will be making its way to Blu-Ray and Digital (via Disney Movies Anywhere) on August 19th.
If the title isn’t a dead giveaway for you, Toy Story of Terror is intended as a Halloween special featuring Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Mr. Potato Head, and several other toys as they are stranded in a seedy motel in the middle of nowhere. In the motel, the Toy Story gang find themselves dealing with a mysterious abductor and the very real danger of being left behind by their new owner.
What makes Toy Story of Terror special is the fact that Woody and Buzz are not the main protagonists of the story even though they’re still pretty much the de facto co-leaders of the gang. This time around, it’s Jessie who takes center stage as the only toy left once the toys start disappearing under mysterious circumstances.
Toy Story of Terror reveals something new about Jessie: she’s claustrophobic. The reveal isn’t completely out of place, though. One should remember that the poor cowgirl has been placed in a box for so long before joining Andy’s stable in Toy Story 2. It’s understandable that she’s scared of things that will remind her of being trapped in a small space.
Additionally, the story also introduces a new character that has been created for the special – a one-armed action figure that holds the key to the mystery: Combat Carl. With Combat Carl’s help, Jessie musters the courage to face her fears and meet the creatures responsible for her friends’ disappearance.
With a runtime of 21 minutes, you shouldn’t expect much in the way of exposition here. The story doesn’t need much, anyway as mystery thrillers thrive on holding back details until the climax. The story does a great job at adapting familiar horror themes into a kid-friendly format, retaining the creepy factor but limiting it to the perspective of the toys. Adults and kids alike will understand why the toys are supposed to be scared, but they won’t be having any nightmares out of it. It’s the perfect Halloween special for the family. What’s more, you’ll find that Pixar has retained the wit and humor that the franchise is known for, made better by the return of the original voice vast.
If you missed Toy Story of Terror the first time around, you’ll get the chance to watch (and own) it this coming August 19th as the special will be released on Blu-Ray Combo pack and on digital via Disney Movies Anywhere. As expected of a home video release, the collection will come packed with bonus extra features that include parody vintage toy commercials, deleted scenes, audio commentary, and many more.